According to the Bangladesh Child Rights Forum, 210 newborns from different parts of Bangladesh, including Dhaka, have been found abandoned and dead in the last six years. Of these, the bodies of 20 newborns were recovered in the first 10 days of December 2020.
According to the Department of Social Services, 10,898 abandoned children received shelter in six Chhotamani homes in four years from 2016 to 2021. At this time the most abandoned children were found in Chittagong, numbering 3,162. Then 2,464 infants were in Sylhet. Dhaka is in the third place with 1,536 babies. Observations show that abandoned infant mortality increased by 21 per cent in Chittagong, 19 per cent in Sylhet and 25 per cent in Dhaka.
Since abortion is strictly prohibited, in many cases doctors do not allow abortion. In addition, if abortion is considered legal to save the life of a pregnant woman, a woman also faces various complications. For example, if a pregnant woman is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, she should try to have a legal abortion. In addition, there are social taboos or unacceptable human unconsciousness centring abortion. Abortions performed illegally (especially in the case of legal abortions) in various clinics or maternity wards are performed by midwives or hammer doctors.
Lack of professionalism results in abortion-related complications. For example, infection or sores in the uterus, excessive bleeding, and even death. Change the law on abortion is necessary for safe abortion. When abortion is legal, women can safely get this service from an experienced doctor or professional clinic, they do not have to take unnecessary risks for fear of privacy and punishment. In addition, a woman's abortion should be a woman's birth right, a woman's body is a woman's. She should not be forced to accept pregnancy for any reason, she should be given the freedom to make decisions about abortion, thinking about the future, often in cases of reluctance or accidental pregnancy or in cases where family and social complications may arise, the first step in this regard is to opt for legal abortion in a socially acceptable manner. In our country, women in different fields are discriminated against in terms of maternity and medical treatment (e.g., forcing to have children, not getting proper services and treatment during pregnancy, etc.). Hence the need for legalization of abortion as part of women's maternal welfare, development and health. Also, there is no precedent in the world for legalizing abortion to increase crime or social degradation (e.g., many claim that legalizing abortion would increase the rate of pre-marital sex). Research has shown that abortion rates remain the same whether abortion is prohibited or made legal, but if abortion is legally prohibited, the death rate of women or mothers due to complications of secret abortions is 34 times higher. Therefore, legalization of abortion is necessary to ensure maternal independence of women and to reduce the rate of maternal mortality. The state has to take responsibility in this regard.
Ashikujaman Syed, Research Assistant, Bioinformatics Research Lab, Center for Research Innovation and Development (CRID)